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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 8, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EDT

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engagement become less about threat and special forces in particular is very, very good at determining threat/no threat. that's what we train on everyday. youant ear building, you're on the field of battle, it a s really the kmeeld commanders that determine threat/no threat because they're there. you can't go back to washington, d.c. or headquarters and ask for analysis. it is the strength of this country and strength of our forces that we trust our commanders in the field. and we have magnificent commanders. recently you may have heard that we lost about 300 flag officers. to me, that didn't bother me. we were probably too heavy in flag officers, anyway. but what bothers me is we lost 8,000 chief petty officers. 8,000 chief petty officers. in the strength of our service is always about the quality of
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our lieutenants, quality of our majors, but more importantly, the quality of our noncommissioned officers and chief petty officers. that's what has made our service what it is today, the proudest, most sophisticated and strongest military force on the planet. rules of engagement, i have seen them migrate nor of a miranda type of environment. the bottom line, war is ugly. you may recall my daughter is a diver, my son-in-law is a navy seal. no one is more reductant to go to war than i am. there is a cost and the cost is often our nation's finest. but when we do go to war, we have to go war to win. we owe it to our kids. we owe it to our country. you can't take the ugliness out of war. because war is ugly.
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it's painful. it's sad. but when you try to cross deck rules of engagement in a warren viernment to what's happening in america where we're going to read miranda rights, or in the case of afghanistan, you can't pursue an enemy even though he's armed, because you haven't identified him. or you have to inform a nonu.s. force about the actions you're going to do. there is operation security. and when you have to bring an interpreter that's not u.s., when you have to inform organizations that are not u.s.-controlled or coalitions. or if you enter a house in afghanistan and you treat the house as if it's located in ennis, montana and you have to
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have a warrant, what we're doing is tying the hands of our field commanders and soldiers, airmen, marines, in an environment in an environment where we have to trust them. it is trust. i've seen the rules of engagement move over time. and i'm glad we're speaking about it, because it is important. and i'm a fight or go home guy. if you fight, you fight. and i think we owe it to our kids, too, when you decide to fight, we should have a plan at what time to bring them back. we've had a long history lately about taking our troops to war and leaving them. war is about carrying the battle to them. keeping momentum.
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and on the offense. that's how you take ground. that's how you defeat enemy. but when you move to a defensive posture, then the advantage is to the adversary. and we are in a defensive posture. overseas. and one can argue our policy, in full retreat everywhere. carrying momentum to battle wins. isis. it's my opinion we're going to fight isis. even i would rather fight isis in the streets of iraq rather than the streets of america. we've had multiple opportunities to contain and reduce isis's threat. and each time, we have not acted. and it is about action. and unless the u.s. leads, i can
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tell you the world will not act. nobody has what the united states does. when france does not have the ability to put troops into mali without u.s. assistance. when the u.s. has more ships in the mediterranean on routine operations than the entire fleet of the british empire, it shouldn't surprise you that unless america leads, the rest of the world cannot act. so isis, couples with the threat, there's a threat at home. if a 7-year-old child can come across the border in this country on the southern border, what makes you think that a group of isis warriors packing surface-to-air missiles can't come across easily. and it should scare us all.
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isis is not reformable. when you chop the heads off children, you're goning to reform to reform isis. they're going to have to be destroyed. even the sunnis who are originally thought they could contain isis now reel at the evil that isis presents. the indicators across the way when isis came across the border -- and i say isis, because we should recognize it as iraq and syria. i don't think we should let our administration off the hook by renaming it. and they surprised me and took it easily. that was the first indicator.
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then isis takes mosul down. mosul is more than just a water project. it supplies the main irrigation, the main power of the entire region. so having an isis force control that facility on august 6th was a danger. and yet we did nothing. and isis almost o took baghdad. i don't2aq think that isis is capable of taking baghdad and the united states had a problem of really taking baghdad. but they could have surrounded it.oh i mean, we had contractors, over a thousand contractors, and the only thing between them and being held hostage was a hundred troops that weren't configured to do defensive posturing. didn't hear about that.
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so what would have happened if over a thousand u.s. contractors were taken in balad? can you imagine the film? one head after another. and yet this administration did nothing. they didn't put force in place. so again, we're going to fight isis. and i'm not in the administration. i'm running for congress. and the commander-in-chief is the executive. but i would hope he would consider putting no-fly zone immediately between iraq and syria. that's not about the air. the no-fly zone allows to you look at reconnaissance, what happens across the border and allows some air to ground capability and allows to you move logistics in place to box them. and we're going to have to box them. and we're going to have to arm
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the kurds fo with what they need to win. and we will have to work with the sunnis. sunnis aren't happy. if you're in amman, the small village, if you know about the sunnis and amman, amman is like a pastor, mayor, counsellor. the quintessential structure in that village. and many of the small villages are control bid an amman. and they don't like the idea of having their structure for centuries put on its head. so i think that there's an opportunity. the opportunity is, work with the sunnis. work with the shia. work with the kurds. and eradicate isis through american leadership. if it takes boots on the ground, it takes boots on the ground. but we have to fight this battle there and not here.
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and shutting down the border for the nation that built the panama canal in the current of the century, you can't tell me we facility, build a structure so that we can secure our southern border. i bet if you ask governor perry and give him the authority do it, i bet governor perry would shut down texas. and same thing with the governor of arizona. empower them to shut down the border. they live it everyday. honestly, as i was asked, why would anyone want to run for congress. it's fixable. america's a fourth-quarter team. we didn't get involved in world war ii until they sunk our battleships. and we didn't really get involved in the war on terrorism until they knocked down our towers. if you haven't been to new york,
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and walked around the holes, the names of the firemen and the passengers, i think every american should. we didn't get involved in the government's financial calamity, until the government was shut down. i can tell you, people are paying attention. and we should. we're all stake holders. we're all stake holders to make sure this country so success and prospers. and honest. if i ask a poll across america of how many trust the united states government, the answer would be appalling. i've been to of 60 countries and fought in a lot of them, and can i tell what you happens when a people no longer trust their
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government. it is africa, it is the middle east, but it is not here. we all have a stake in holding our elected officials and bureaucrats accountable. we deserve the truth. he can take iwhe can take ite c. so with that, thank you very much. it's been a wonderful opportunity to come to washington. even though i prefer montana. it's great to be here. and thank you for the host. thank you. [ applause ] >> instead of having just questions and answers, people can certainly ask questions, but áh @r(t&háhp &hc% from people who want to comment.
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in particularly, mr. and mrs. cohen, particularly touching
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against the united states, on the united states adoption of optimal and unsustainable rules of engagement and undermine the united states investments in revolution of technology, say directed at energy weapons, that would act as a tech fix to -- advantages of hugging noncombatants with the united states and its conventional superiority.
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>> i know it is a complex question. a challenging one. anybody have any comments on that? jeff or ryan? >> i would say, that obviously knows that they can't -- [ inaudible ] they also know we have this, quote, unquote, idea, and they use it to their advantage. women and children, for example, in hamas. put them in hospitals. hide behind churches or mosques or whatever they can. they also realize the issue of propaganda. they know if they can just win the propaganda war, they can win the war. militarily we were not defeated in afghanistan. we were not defeated in vietnam. they did not understand the overall strategy. that's just the basic premise.
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that people do not understand what the military is to be used for. military, in my presentation, is real simple. and i'm a conservative, obviously. we're very -- [ inaudible ] my colleagues use three sentences. juris prudence. we get it. but you need to understand that we are a confused people. somehow, oh, shucks, we're not -- and they use it against us. so we don't think like they think. we want to think that the enemy thinks like we think. and they might not think like we think. and that's the greatest weapon. you have technology, they have propaganda weapon. i could tell you another story,
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but that's my time. >> any other comments? yes? >> this has been a very, very interesting presentation by all of the speakers. and as a mother of a son who was in afghanistan, shortly after the war, i could only expect how hard broken they are -- my sympathy -- and i can only imagine my situation if the same had happened. but my son happened to have been in afghanistan where a lieutenant general was recently -- yes, major general -- lieutenant major general. i'm losing track. was shot at the base there.
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however, while all the speakers have a lot of very strong and important words to say, particularly with regard to the shaping of roe, i felt that unfortunately, i wish the cohens would not have opened this up with a very stacked and politicized presentation. i think it takes away from the importance of the issue and makes it more clouded. because the professor from st. mary's points out, this is not something that's new. this has been going on for a long time. we can look back to the end of world war i when we had our military shoot upon our own soldiers afterwards when they were on the capitol hill. speaking their promised rights.
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so unfortunately, we have a history in our own country of mismanaging our forces and this is not new. and it has to be addressed. but to address it in the way that it is initially presented, i think that is to the blood that's been spilled. thank you. >> certainly your opinion. any other comments or questions? yes, sorry? go ahead. >>. [ inaudible ] i would like to direct this question to professor. the catholic church has just war doctrine. according to the just war doctrine, military force is last resort. you have harm known combatant. and i think nagasaki and tokyo bombings would be considered unjust. it seems to me that that might be a validation of the italian
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air doctrine of terrorizing populations in wars. but we don't have any concorde with the vatican. and we have no national church. but there are other churches like the russian federation. and so the man who developed export and ak-47 and that sort of thing, before his death, on the one hand he expressed no regret oest fact that jihad is using weapons. and saying that politicians were to blame, not him. and if you express that the russian orthodox church saying well, he made those weapons to defend the mother land, he is not responsible for what happens to them in saudi arabia. and so my question basically is, russia is part of the geneva convention, i believe. it is proxy and going to these almost islamist groups.
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so we would do well by pulling the rug from under them. and i'm wondering whether russia orthodox church may have a just war doctrine whereby you can -- you have looser rules against the enemy than they have against you. >> just war doctrine is -- [ inaudible ] that's kind of the moral side of war. but right now, the rule of war, as you were, is article 51, u.n. charter. you may use violence but only in self-defense. that's the measure we use. we won't go into long dissertations about just war doctrine, et cetera, et cetera. you may not use force the rest of the way. so if we go to war, we are doing it in self dpe fence. and we can argue about what
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self-defense means. but nothing is perfect. and the rules of engagement have been around for a long time. when president bush was in office, would you see me raising cane about some of president bush's policies, but he is not here any more. nothing personal about president obama, but my job was to tell your boss he's wrong and how to fix it. i'm all about fixing stuff. so pardon me if i didn't include that in my criticism, but he's not here. he equally shares the blame for rules of engagement in the development. i think that's important to learn. but the rule of law really is article 51 of the u.n. charter. we have the self-defense, this is the god-given right of self-defense. and recognized as customary international law. so that's what -- that the touch zone that we operate on. again, inherent right of individual self-defense or collective self-defense.
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i agree with ryan, if we don't lead the world, no one the lead the world. every u.n. mission has been led by the united states. and we have a responsibility. we just can't go back into our borders and say, well, it won't come here. it's already here. we have other people, according to the fbi, probably 300, isis, that's the propaganda part. they see in isis something they haven't seen since 9/11. there is hundreds and even thousands of jihadists, that if you are amongst them, inspired by isis. they don't need to go to isis, they can do it right here. and so that's the threat. we've got to anticipate the threat. we've got do something now instead of react to it. >> i see two -- there is a lady in the back who had a question. >> my name is sharon.
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quick question. the isis people, people that don't have any background, i'm trying to say why we need the -- they don't want that p.m. i talked to many people because of the no draft. people don't have a relative directly affected. with the rules of engagement, how we educate people, to -- [ inaudible ] . >> that's what woodrow wilson said before world war i. it is not the military renewe n to prepare, it's the people. it is okay to have the word islam in the fbi manual. it is okay to recognize there is a station between islam and radical islam extremists. it is not a battle against islam. it is a battle against islamic extremists and their reading of the koran. they are a rising threat. >> and boot on the ground.
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>> what force is capable? you've seen pictures of isis with tafrmgnks. you know, some of it is our armor. who will defend and who will establish a military dominance if it's not us? the entire british army can be held in qualcomm stadium in san diego. so it is us. in many cases. we are the best force on the history of the planet. someone talked about, you know, russia. take a look at the russian pictures that are coming out of the ukraine. dissimilar uniforms. often times don't have the same wheel set.
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why? russia is a regional force. they certainly don't have the capability to project force outside of their territory. it is interesting when russia invaded the peninsula, i think they gave us a softball pitch. and it was a softball pitch. we should have, as a country, approved the keystone pipeline, which goes through montana. we like it up there. and we should have, as a nation, looked at capturing our liquid natural gas, liquefying it and probably supplying europe. that gets most of their national gas from russia. then a sweet crude excess. we probably could relax the restrictions. and i will say soviet, putin is soviet, you do what reagan did. hit them square in the face with a scare market. if you take your energy, out of the russian economy, there
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really isn't much there. i think as a nation, militarily, we're not putting a battle group in the black sea. we're not going to put troops in the peninsula. but economically, we can deliver a fatal blow at our choosing, if we decide do that. >>. [ inaudible ] >> no. i mean, we can compete with them. i can guarantee you that if we liquefy -- you know, in north dakota alone, north dakota alone, everyday, we flair or burn about 3.5 million barrels equivalent of gas because we can't build a pipeline. 3.r5 million barrels equivalent of gas. price point overseas and europe is around 8.5. price point here is almost 4. so we can compete. we can sell europe liquefied gas
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at a better price point than what russia can do. that's how you beat them. hats how you won the cold war. can't compete with the technology if we're allowed to innovate. >> lady in the back? yes. lady in the back. >> my name is monica, i'm one of the co-authors. i just wanted to hang out and answer to this lady's comment, then i would like to thank you personally and mrs. cohen for what you've done in making this possible and bringing people together to discuss experiences and facts. and while we were working on this book, i want to point out that i came from a background that didn't really understand the military very well. and also, i came from the
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experience of setting policy history in my undergraduate years. and i wrote on a policy that was drafted bay relative of mine. and as coincidence can be quiten marvelous, today is the 160th anniversary that justice moore was elected as a congressman. and eventually, he assisted abraham lincoln in being elected president. they became general sous of the rottu that the officers trained for. an i observed and studied and poured over the history books of how jfk, during his administration, leveraged the moral act for political capital. i received the proclamation on the moral act a little over two years ago during the 150th
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anniversary of the moral act. and frankly, i agree with this lady that things are being used with political purposes. but what's different about this, and what is different about what is happening is we are finally getting people on the ground in washington, d.c. no discuss this. finally. and we present facts. we present testimony. we present the truth. and the other side, if they want to disagree with us, all they today throw at us is a fledgeling weakened ideology. and i would like to thank you. what is happening now needs to be discussed. it needs to be amplified in a way that we've never seen before because this is -- we are hearing the cries of our men on the battlefield asking for help. we are not the voices for our men on the ground, then you will have no voice left. thank you. >> thank you.
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>> yes? >> retiree from coast guard. earlier on, the fact that the others were in an old inappropriate tell conference and that brings up the question that has the project that contributed to situations and what can be done --el conferenc and that brings up the question that has the project that contributed to situations and what can be done -- conference and that brings up the question that has the project that contributed to situations and what can be done --conference ad that brings up the question that has the project that contributed to situations and what can be done -- >> in actuality, the money is not an issue. it is just the nonurgency -- the money has been for how much mh-47s to be built? >> two a year. >> but what's the total?
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47 especially equipped helicopters that should have been used on that raid that night. but they haven't been built. they are building them at a rate of one a year. >> two a year. >> two a year. excuse me. but the problem is, if we have 6 00% increase in special operations missions over a three-year period, from 84 a month in 2008 -- >> 9. >> to 334 a month, the month our son died. so 600% increase in missions with no increase in special operations equipment. so what we have here is the problem of an overzealous, overzealous reaction to stomping the threat out. doing everything we can to eliminate the threat without proper equipment to make that happen. so what it did is cost lives.
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there's actually a quote in the testimony. they knew this would happen. they couldn't stop the tide from blowing. >> what we were told, we have 61 special operations. and they have to use those a lot in afghanistan. and we were told at the same debriefing privately, because i did bring that up, that we have 61. i'm told, that the numbers are correct. i was told that by brigadier general. privately, i was told by special warfare, billy, if we have 60, we can only have 20 in theater at a time. because 20 have to be down for maintenance. 20 used for training. so at any given time, we are
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only able to use a third. what we learn as a parents, not experts or anything else, but what their budget was a year and now that for the next several years build special operations choppers for years. my answer to him was, sir, some healthy good competition might make it possible to build more than two a year. special operation is used all over the war. i don't know if i answered your question or not. >> i will make a point. i don't blame the seals for riding on an older craft. there was a company that was in trouble. and the seals are trained to run to sound of guns. so they did exactly what they should have done. first available aircraft they took it. and unfortunately, that aircraft took shots in the back.
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and the individual perished. but the seals did the right in my opinion. you take whatever craft is available at the time and run to the sound of guns. that's what you're trained to do. that's your job. >> and that's been artful, by wait. you couldn't have kept our son off that chopper. knowing who those guys were, they would have gone in if they had a bicycle, ice pick and finger nail file. that's why we made sure they had the best. >> okay, this will be the last question. i'm sorry. go ahead. [ inaudible ] if my belief is that the role of military in afghanistan is not isolated to search and destroy missions, and intertwined with the concept that limiting civilian casualties inside the
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theater is key to limiting the expansion of extremists in afghanistan, so do you believe that this current roe that the employee of afghanistan is not necessary when there are casualties and if not can you describe the certain alteration that makes the roe, with women, with casualties? >> we all should be concerned. you know, our field commanders and again, threat, you that's how we have field commanders in the force we do. in looking at the situation and training and situation trained generally always dictates. and when the rules of engagement become narrow, you can't conduct battle when necessary. you can't pursue if an individual goes across the border where you're looking at them, maneuvering.
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you can't engage. we learned things from vietnam. what doesn't seem like we've learned a lot. because we're repeating the mistakes of past wars when you can't engage clearly a combatant. or what an individual is threatening and has a weapon, and is approaching because he hasn't fired yet, you're not aloud to engage or he runs into a house with a force and you know, this is not a game. it has consequences, if you don't engage. there's a base for a safe haven. it is like children playing on a playground. but unfortunately, the consequences are dire. in many cases there are children. mine are fighting as well as many in this room. i think you have to trust your
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commanders. and i agree with that, that you should, as a commander, look at villain population. if you can pick and choose a time, let them walk away from the civilian group, then engage. if you don't have that luxury, then you have to raise how important that high value target is. there are some value targets that no matter what, they they are worth engaging. consequence of not engaging them means a significant loss of life. so i agree. >> let me go first. what i was going to say, sir, military records show that as we implement the coin strategy in afghanistan, civilian
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casualties, by the nato forces, did go down. our warriors casualties rose sharply. but also, the afghans, casualties rose sharply, from death by their own people. their taliban. because when the americans, when we backed off, the taliban, these are military, and we have access to them. and the military knows this. those casualties went up because they intimidated their people because we weren't coming after them as much. >> you cannot target civilians. and while you make that determination, you make that evaluation and you target. i'm not opposed to all those, i'm just posed to the rules of
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engagement and you turn on the news that the back of the soldiers, it doesn't work. the obama stories cost us a thousand casualties. the taliban is after a surge or before a surge. we have look of strategy at the top level. a lack of understanding in terms of our tactics at the level where the rubber meets the road. that's the problem is we simply don't understand whatter with doing there. and the greatest tragedy is, there's nothing to capture. these people hide behind women and children and use that against them. by the grace of god, we had victory on a silver platter given us to. when the president made the right decision, about the target, he could have blown the building up. they would have accused obama like they did jimmy carter.
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but killing osama bin laden, he was a figure that you can't imagine having in radical islam. he was reigning for over ten years. when we killed him, that is a huge psychological blow to the enemy. our president should have got on tv and, that was an exit strategy. we lost. once we stay there for a hundred years, we can keep a lid on it as long as our military is there. if we leave, that countries goes right back to where it was with the taliban and the division and all of the is the stuff that occurred before 9/11. unless you leave us there for a hundred years to maintain order. helen keller could have figured it out. and yet our president said, the new taliban will join with the new -- what?
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the new -- they are the nazis of our day. they are going to join the new karzai government that sets an individual that converted from islam christianity to sentence them to death. sorry, the country is a basket case. but we have to live with the national interest. the al qaeda are in afghanistan, less than a hundred. they're not there. president bush drove them out in 2001. it is the taliban. and their job, they drove them out. and that is not my job to fix the world. it is our job to protect our national interest and use the blood of our soldiers. and it is precious. we use that for national victory. >> thank you all for coming today. we appreciate your listening on this important topic. thank you john. we appreciate it very much.
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>> on tuesday, the senate homeland security committee holds an oversight hearing on federal programs with equipped state and law enforcement with weapons and military gear. witnesses will include officiales from the pentagon. the justice department and the homeland security department. live coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. and you'll have the opportunity to comment on the hearing as it happens on face book and twitter. using the hashtag to be cspanchat. with congress back in session, here's a message to congress from one of this year's c-span student competition winners. >> water. it makes up 75% of our body. take water away, and humanity would perish within a week. water is the most vital substance to a human body but because of humans nearly 50% of
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streams, like, bays and estuaries are unsuitable for use due to pollution. in the u.s. we have learned to take water for granted. faucets, bolts water and flushed toilets have the same idea. pá$q but step outoutside to our local watermain and their diminishing condition tells a different story. water pollution kills marine life, destroys ecosystems and disrupts an already traj ill food chain and animals aren't the only ones suffering the negative effect of water pollution. congressing with in 2014 you must provide federal fund to wastewater treatment facilities across the country. the life blood of our nation is challenged with the drink of generations and it must stop here. >> join us wednesday during washington journal for the theme of the 2015 student cam documentary competition.
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>> consumer advocate and former presidential candidate ralph nader was joined for americans for tax reform president grover norquist at the press club recently. the two about bipartisanship in government offering their own ideas where both political parties could potentially work together. this is an hour. >> good afternoon. and welcome. i'm a professor at george washington university school of leading public affairs. former international with the associated press and 107th president of the national press club. national press club is the world's lead prague fegsal organization for journalists, committed to our profession's future, to our programming with events such as this while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club please visit our website at on behalf of our members
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worldwide, i would like to welcome our speakers and those of you attending today's event. our head table as guests of our speakers as well as working journalists who are club members. if you hear applause in our audience, i note the members of the general public are attending so it is not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalistic objectivity. i would also like to c-span and public audiences following action on twitter, using hashtag and ncp lunch. after speeches conclude, there will be a question and answer period and i will answer as many questions as time will permit. i would like each of you to stand broefly as your name is announced and from your right, skip coltonus whatter, independent journalist writes on politics and the law and organized the press club in 200
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4. ray, nanud, a guest of grover norquist. dr. clara nader, dr. ralph nader's sister. pat host, air force defense daily and helped organize today's event. grover -- excuse me, grover, sorry. we changed the routine because two of speaksers. i will interdue us and mr. snader in a moment. a reporter for usa today, vice chair of the speakers committee and past national press club president. skipping over under nader for a moment, john well, account supervisor atted elman and helped organize today's luncheon. saman norquist, wife of grover norquist.
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andrea brick yay, ek noim iks reporters at investors business daily. ed ward moony, guest of ralph nader. and jonathan issla lon, politic reporter and former president of the national press club. to long time washington observers, ralph nader and grover norquist may not seem like natural allies. but throughout their careers, they fought for a singular goal, good responsive government. how they define responsive government and how they get there are where the consumer champion and anti-tax advocate champion part ways. but today they say there can be a common cause. nader, who found that public citizen in 1971 fights to protect consumers from a collusion of corporate and government interests. norquist wants to protect
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americans from overbearing government interest too quick to tax and too quick to spend. long ago nader passed beyond simple concerns with seat belts and hot dogs. he has built a national network of citizen groups that have had a major impact in tax reform, nuclear energy and health and safety programs. in his latest book "unstoppable" he warns the united states is at a pivotal moment. americans are more disillusion with their political leaders than ever and posters tell that big corporations have too much political power. norquist established americans for tax reform in 1985. the group works to limit size and government of cost and poses higher taxes at all levels of government. he is best known for his anti-tax pledge to which he said 260 law makers in the 113th congress swore to uphold.
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norquist recently advocated for the government to stay out of the proposed comcast time warner merger beyond antitrust concerns saying the marketplace is adjusting to consumer demand and the government should not meddle in a free market transaction. today we will discuss where the left and right could come together to work for a better america. please welcome, ralph nader and grover norquist. and by mutual agreement, and by mutual agreement, it was agreed mr. nader would go first, speak for 12 minutes, then followed by mr. norquist, who will speak for 12 minutes. then we will have question and answer segments. mr. nader, the floor is yours. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, myro fl, distinguished guest. and audience. representing various views, i
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think the eq here that comes down to an immobilized society, people want to get things done in this country. but the powers that be, as they have for thousands of years, have learned that the best strategy to block the will of the people is to divide and rule. as a result, we hear article after article about how polarized our society is, red state, blue state, republican, democrat, left, right, and there are many divisions and disagreements to be sure. there are disagreements on reproductive rights, on gun control, on school prayer, on constitutionally required balance budget. on taxes. on kinds of regulation. and those will probably remain. however, there are huge areas and very fundamental ones in terms of constitutional procedures as well as substantive policies where there is a large left/right
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convergence majority in this country. it starts with the public sentiment as abraham lincoln said. with the public sentiment, you can do anything and without to you can't do much of anything at all. so we start with the reality that it is already out there in the minds of tens of millions of american wloes call themselves conservativeses or libertarians or progressives. they agree on a whole host of issuees. i first came across this agreement going function yl, going operational, from mere convergi converging opinion to actual political action. when we developed a coalition in 1923 can which piled up there are 1.3 billion and they hadn't dug a shovel on the shores of the clench river in tennessee. and our side wasn't getting very far and senator from arkansas called up, bumper, and said, why
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don't you call some of the right wing groups. they were worried about there because it is a huge budget db buster. prediction it will go to $8 billion. so we formed a taxpayers groups against the krench river breeder react popper we had some formidable foes. ronald reagan was for it. senator howard baker was for it. general electric and westing house for for it. and it was quite an uphill fight. but in a stunning defeat of the clench river, we won in the senate 56 -40. that was in 1983. in 1986 against corporate lobbyists, there is a left right convergence between senator grassley, republican of ohio, and a democrat congressman from california to pass the cross claims act. that would give government officials an opportunity, if they blow the whistle, government employees, to share in the recovery that would be
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pursued by the justice department. that has saved tens of billions of dollars since then. and we see other examples. this is not pie in the sky. we're not sugar coating this convergence. we would have examples as of last year for example, there was a left/right uproar on e-mail et cetera to stop another war in syria, getting u.s. involved in syria. and the left/right in defiance of john boehner and nancy pelosi in the house, almost got a bill through blocking the nsa from drag net snooping. they lost by 12 votes on that. and at the state level, a lot of interesting things are going on. 15 state legislatures have passed juvenile justice reform. only possibly because of left/right legislators. when the keelo decision came down saying it was okay for new
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london to ex appropriate a whole neighborhood and give it to pfizer, 25 state legislators passed a variety laws very quickly. you see, not in this state you're going to take private property, condemn it and give it to corporations, other kind of private property. so in doing this book, i go through the history of conservative philosophers and lo and behold, a lot of them from adam smith to von misis to russell kirk, we're not exactly what the corporatists who have distorted their philosophy would have us believe. many of them believe they were against socialism, against government planning to be sure. but they were for a safety net leading to milton friedman's minimum income plan and mixnixo adopting it. that heritage goes all the way to henry simeones who is a
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founder of chicago school. with economics and friedman's mentor. and goes back to high yack who thought there had to be a sievety net. public works fostered by them. they had conservative philosophy. did not like monopolies. very eloquent in busting up monopolies. so we have doctrinal bases here as well as current operational figures, some politicians, some writers. but most important, back there in the country, where people live, work and raise their children, the ideological chis ems are not quite as parent because these people back home are facing reality. so we have a great deal of disagreement between left, right on reproductive rights and school prayer and gun control and balance the budget, as i said. but we also have very fundamental agreements. and it was illustrated in an
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interview in the book i had of ed cane, when he said, ralph, i'm against all corporate subsidies, unconstitutional laws, the liberty restricted aspects of the patriotic act and federal reserve run amok. i said, that's a pretty good start, ed. that's a pretty good start. and so, i wanted to focus on the two areas of agreement categorically. one is on procedure. civil liberties. protection of privacy. don't engage in drag net snooping, et cetera. you don't interfere with international law and constitutional law and federal law and go in i where in the world building up empires and bases in 120 countries. you don't allow the pentagon to automatically get huge budgets through congress without following normal appropriation
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committee o procedures like the budget forrite rack war. the budget for the afghan war. that's a very important area. and that's where there is very, very solid basis here, as grover will point out, there is a lot of collaboration between left, right, american civil liberties union and right leaning groups. in the substantive area, they are quite remarkable converge e convergences. i sometimes i think half of what the government does a shovel out subsidies, hand-outs, give aways privileges, economic privileges in the marketplace and bailout. this is called crony capitalism by the right. called corporate welfare by us. that's a huge slice of the federal budget. the patriotic act comes up for confirmation, repeat, next year. maybe there will be a struggle
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instead of just rubber stamping it as it has been renewed price by rubber stamp. we have collaboration, left/right wants to audit the pentagon. jqyço million, unaudited every year. not really the way a business would run it. that's why you lose 9 billion here, 6 billion there. as senator dirksen said, it adds up to reel money. there's no accounting. it is also big on procurement. why not establish standards for efficiency and for national goals, like controlling pollution. advancing auto safety. and here in the audience is jarold carmen, former head of the general services administration. when we hit a stone wall on the air back, even though george and others came out during the stone wall, ronald reagan and i went
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to see a republican from new hampshire and he was in an auto parts business. o and i said, you know, if you have air bags and in government cars, didn't buy cars 40, 50,000 a year for government employees, it will reduce accidents, injuries, claims, cost and lost work. that appealed to him in addition to the life-saving aspect of it. to make a long story short, against the opposition of all of the auto companies except forward, he put out a request to business for 5,000 air bags in tempo for tempos, the government wanted to buy. and that helped the momentum to get the air bag in all of the krs. now it's on side site air bag and front seat air bag. that's the buying power. that's what is so important.
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it is not just a more traumatic issue. it is also the issues of proper functioning of government. of course, there's go to be a lot of disagreements. i don't know whether grover agrees with us but there is left/right coalition and to take it up close to where it was in 1968 is adjusted for inplags. 30 million workers who make less today than they made workers made in 1968 adjusted for inflation.
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